GOLDEN: Jersey Shore High School headed to states after winning in districts

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette Jersey Shore Girls 200 Yard Freestyle Relay team took first place in the district meet. From left is: Veronica Sander, Emma Butzler, Meaghan Keegan, and Jordan O'Connor.

Back in 2008, Jersey Shore High School’s Jenna Brooks competed in the PIAA District IV Championship swim meet during her senior year and punched a ticket to the state meet with wins in two relays (200 medley and free) and the 100 yard butterfly on the first day.

“It was my last chance to move onto the championship meet, and you don’t want to hold anything back because you’ll never get another chance,” said Shore’s head coach Brooks. “It’s very emotional, but very memorable and exciting to look back on.”

Fast forward ten years and it is just as exciting and memorable for Brooks as she is once again heading back to PIAA States because of those very same events. However, this time it will be on deck, coaching her swimmers from her alma mater instead of competing in the water.

The first event of Day 1 was the girls 200 medley relay. Seeded second behind the Ironmen of Danville, the girls knew what they needed to accomplish to earn a bid to states; upend the top seed. Jordon O’Connor started the relay in the backstroke and was able to stay within 15/100s of a second of Danville’s Lizzie Bason.

The Ironmen widened the lead over Jersey Shore by almost two seconds in the breaststroke as Abby Ferguson battled Shore’s Meaghan Keegan. Suddenly, Lewisburg was in the mix and pushed Jersey Shore down into third slot as their breaststroker Anna Batkowski turned in the fastest time on that leg to move into second behind Danville.

The deficit was soon erased when Emma Butzler entered the water for the fly portion and swam the fastest leg of the field in that stroke. This was enough to propel Shore to the front of the pack. Veronica Sander was then able to hold off the seven other teams and touch the wall for the relay gold.

The same quartet swam Day 1’s final relay, the 200 freestyle, as the top seed. Again, the girls knew what they needed to get the automatic invitation to States; prevent an upset. With that target on their back, competing teams came after them and front loaded some of their best swimmers on the first leg. This had Shore in the sixth spot after the first 50 yards, but only 1.57 seconds behind the leader. That deficit was erased by O’Connor in the next 50 yards as she pushed herself to the front and with a .47 lead over their nearest competitor, Danville. Jersey Shore’s next two swimmers, Sander and Butzler, stretched out the lead over the rest of the field and won the race by 1.27 seconds.

“With these girls qualifying, it makes me proud to be a coach, plus it allows me to live my high school glory days again through them,” said Brooks. “These girls are nothing but exceptional and am so proud of what they’ve accomplished at the district meet. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us in a couple of weeks.”

In between the two relays, Butzler won her fourth PIAA District 100 butterfly title. She joins four time Jersey Shore winners Sam Eck in wrestling (’03 – ’06) and Danielle Griffin in golf (’08 – ’11).

Day 2 was a little more challenging as no swimmers were able to capture a title. Several swimmers did medal and may have the chance to move on, depending on the results of the other PIAA districts across Pennsylvania this weekend. O’Connor’s second place finish in the 100 back was fast enough to set a new school record set by teammate Butzler in 2016.

Jersey Shore Finishes


200 medley relay:1. Jersey Shore (Jordan O’Connor, Meaghan Keegan, Emma Butzler, Veronica Sander), 1:52.31

200 IM:7. Allison Moore, 2:26.41

50 free: 2. Jordan O’Connor, 25.23; 7. Veronica Sander, 26.41; 25. Maegan Sorgen, 28.59

100 fly: 1. Emma Butzler, 57.47; 6. Meaghan Keegan, 1:02.96;

200 free relay: 1. Jersey Shore?(Meaghan?Keegan, Jordan O’Connor, Veronica Sander,?Emma Butzler), 1:42.00

100 free: 2. Emma Butzler, 53.11; 9. Veronica Sander, 58.21

500 free: 9. Allison Moore; 12. Maegen Sorgen

100 back: 2. Jordan O’Connor, 59.67; 15. Hunter Lucas, 1:10.70

100 breast: 4. Meaghan Keegan, 1:12.79

400 free relay: 10. Jersey Shore (Allison Moore, Gabrielle Bellomo; Hunter Lucas, Maegen Sorgen), 4:20.95


200 medley relay: 9. Jersey Shore (Jacob Bower, Nash Berfield, Alex Butzler, Caleb Stemler), 1:56.49

200 IM: 4. Nash Berfield, 2:11.04

50 free: 15. Jacob Bower, 25.63

100 fly: 3. Alex Butzler, 57.09

200 free relay: 6. Jersey Shore (Jacob Bower, Nash Berfield, Caleb Stemler, Alex Butzler), 1:38.76